The monsters under my working mom bed

Tomorrow.  Ugh.  Tomorrow is the day I leave my babies to go back to work.  Maternity leave is over.  Really?  How did that happen?  My baby boy was just coming home from the hospital and now I’m leaving him to go to work.  My heart is aching and I’m terrified for the adjustment.  The what ifs are daunting… What if we can’t get out the door on time?  What if I can’t handle it all?  What if I miss the kid’s bedtime?  What if I miss a deadline?  What if the kids miss me?  What if they don’t?  What if I disappoint my co-workers and my boss?  What if I disappoint Denny?  What if I disappoint the kids?

These ‘what ifs’ have been haunting me and causing me anxiety for weeks, but the reality is that they are nothing more than monsters under my working mom bed.  Just like a kiddo I’m creating a world of fears that in reality don’t exist.  Right now the monsters seem big, hairy and scary but there is much reality that can make my mom monster fears go away.

The reality is that I’m going back to a job I love.  The reality is that I have great co-workers, a super awesome boss and a job that makes me feel like I’m making a difference in the world.  The reality is that I have a pretty flexible schedule.  The reality is that I have an incredibly supportive husband who does drop-offs and pick-ups, who makes dinner, and who does laundry.  The reality is that we have the most wonderful childcare provider that we could imagine, and Makenzie and Mitchell get to be together all day.  The reality is that by the end of the day tomorrow I’ll probably feel good about returning to the adult world.

So tonight I’ll keep my flashlight next to my bed and do the best I can to scare away the monsters.  I’m sure they won’t go away but hopefully they won’t keep me up too late.  And tomorrow I’ll squeeze (literally) into my work pants, I’ll use some waterproof mascara, I’ll fill my desk with pictures of the kiddos, and I’ll head back to the workplace I love.  It may not be my most productive day but I’ll make it through and hopefully prove to myself that we can do it.

So go away monsters!  I’ve got real fears to deal with like how I will ever fit into my work pants…

…to be continued.

monsters under the bed

 

And miles to go before I sleep

There are few things I love more than words.  Words are so simple, yet when connected with other words they create powerful and meaningful messages.  Perhaps that’s why I love writing.  So I’m sure it’s no surprise that certain stories and poems regularly dance through my head.

One in particular is Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.  The final verse is this…

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
These words danced through my head while I stayed up all night packing before my many college moves.  These words danced through my head when I stayed up all night preparing for exams in grad school.  And these words definitely danced through my head during 3 am feedings with my little ones.
Tonight Denny and I drove home from his parent’s house and the words of Robert Frost again played over and over in my head as we made our way down the highway with our two little loves in the backseat.  Our initial plan wasn’t to come home at night but after our drive there we realized that Mitchell is not a fan of his car seat.  So around 9 pm with large coffees to go, we started the four-hour trek home in hopes that both Makenzie and Mitchell would sleep.
Makenzie was so uncomfortable and unable to sleep that I eventually had to climb into the backseat and squish between the two car seats with the hope of calming her down so that she could get a few winks of sleep.
The closer we got to home, the tighter I squeezed my buckled-up baby, and the more my mind raced.  We had miles to go, but I kept thinking about everyone else in our life who has miles to go.  During the past year we’ve seen some of the people we love most walking many long miles on life’s journeys.  Some journeys are to strengthen relationships, some are to learn to let go.  Some journeys are to find answers and some are to find cures.
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It is now 3 am. We’re home and our babies are finally sleeping in their beds.  The Easter Bunny stopped by the house and we’re just a few hours from Easter morning, yet my mind keeps racing.  So as we approach the sunrise of Easter morning, perhaps the Hope of this day will bring new strength to all those who have miles to go before they sleep.  Perhaps we will all try to be more mindful of those around us silently trekking along on journeys.  And perhaps, if we’re lucky, our miles will have someone we love to hold us until we make it home.
 Sweet Dreams and Happy Easter to you and your families!
XOXO
Erin

A really real post about a huge mistake I made

It’s been about 38 hours and I still have a terrible sick feeling in my stomach.   And although I normally blog about the funny parts of parenting, tonight is different.  Tonight I’m still thinking about the fact that being a parent can be very serious.  Let me tell you about my mistake…

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It was yesterday morning.  I had my hands at 10 and 2.  I wasn’t touching or even looking at my phone.  The radio was low.  The visibility was clear.  The roads were not icy.  I was not tired.  And for some reason, I missed a stop sign.  In fact I completely drove through a pretty busy road… with my daughter in the backseat.

I realized it the split second that I passed the sign, and I’m certain that my heart stopped beating until we got through the intersection and I stopped the car.  I looked in the mirror and Makenzie was just looking up and sucking on her binky.  And as I looked back a truck sped through the intersection.

THANKFULLY we were fine physically.   Somehow we got incredibly lucky and the usually busy two-way stop intersection didn’t have any traffic for that one second.   We escaped a stupid error of mine and we are totally fine, but I’m shaken to my core.

I can’t stop thinking… What if there had been traffic?   What if we weren’t so lucky?

I can’t stop thinking… HOW did I do that?  HOW did I jeopardize our lives?  WHAT was I thinking?

I keep replaying it and I’m not sure how I missed the sign, but I did.

It’s been almost two days and I’m still shaking.   I’m still teary thinking about what the other outcomes could have been.  I’m still furious with myself.  And I’m still going up to Makenzie’s room every few minutes to kiss her sweet sleepy head.

There’s no doubt that we are INCREDIBLY LUCKY.  For some reason, someone was watching out for us.

Two nights ago I would have argued that I was an extremely safe driver, and that I was 100% focused, but this week proves I have an opportunity to do better,  And the reason I write this is because I’m guessing that we all have an opportunity to do a little better.  Being a parent can be really fun, but it is also a tremendous responsibility.  Being a parent is about being 100% focused on the world to protect our kids.  I’m not proud to write this but maybe it will make a difference for the other moms, dads and grandparents reading this.

Please think about what you’re doing when you’re doing it.  Drive slower.  Focus more.  And remember that we’re just visitors in this world with no length-of-stay guarantee.   Once you do that, hug your kids extra tight tonight.  I’m taking this experience as a reminder to ALWAYS be GRATEFUL for all I have in this world.  I hope you are too.

Thanks for listening, and thanks for not judging.

With Love,

Erin

grateful

Dear Makenzie, there’s someone I always want you to remember…

Dear Makenzie,

A few months back I promised I would use part of this blog to write to you all about life and lessons and love.  I promised I’d tell you all about the important things I always want to you tuck away in a safe spot in your heart.  I have something very important I want to share with you.  I want to tell you all about your Great Aunt Lorraine.

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Aunt Lorraine at the Q family reunion a few years back with her “Q” award

This week has been a very sad week for our family because we lost your wonderful Great Aunt Lorraine after a courageous battle with a disease not worth mentioning.  I write this post to you because I always want you to know about Aunt Lorraine!  She was hilarious, interesting, beautiful, talented and SO FUN!!!

Your Great Aunt Lorraine was the coolest Aunt!  She used to have a light-up Christmas sweatshirt, which always made me smile when I was a kid.   And she and Uncle Jim were always taking Aunt Melissa and I fun places when we were little – Indians games, Nutcracker ballet, and even a trip to Canada once.

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Your mom and Aunt Lorraine, sometime in the 90’s

I can write for days about the wonderful memories I have of Aunt Lorraine but most importantly I want you to know about her ability to always find the bright side of things.  She really really knew how to enjoy life.  I hope you someday do the same.

Pictures are really worth a thousand words so I have included some pictures below for you to know all about your Great Aunt Lorraine.  She will be forever missed.

Love you lots Kenz,

Mom, xoxo

Aunt Lorraine Uncle Jim

Aunt Lorraine and Uncle Jim – so in love!!

Aunt Lorraine camera

Aunt Lorraine loved her photography

Aunt Lorraine zany

Always so so fun!

Aunt Lorraine photography

Some of her photography talent

Aunt Lorraine taking a picture

Always capturing the sunsets

PS  I’m so glad that Aunt Lorraine was able to see your sweet smile and get to know you!  Check out her time with you…

Aunt Lorraine and Makenzie

Makenzie you were just a few weeks old when we took your first road trip to Ohio to meet Aunt Lorraine

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Wisdom from Aunt Lorraine to you at your shower!

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At your baby shower everyone wrote you notes. Aunt Lorraine wrote about you, “She will be a star in Hollywood” Maybe someday you will!

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I think this was her secret…

Secret of genius